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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    10

    Default New York - LA summer '09

    Hi everyone,

    My friend and I are from the UK and planning a road trip from New York to LA in July and August of this year.

    We plan to fly into JFK on 4th July and fly home from LAX on 11th August.

    We plan to spend the 1st 4 days in New York before picking up our hire car from Newark Airport (to avoid the higher young driver rate in NY state).

    We plan to spend 5weeks getting from here to LA and this includes spending 4days in Las Vegas. We have come up with an initial plan of our route which includes major cities we would b interested in visiting:

    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&so...,56.25&t=h&z=4

    Our budget is as follows:

    Flights - $1500 each
    Car Hire - $1700 each
    Fuel - $550 each
    Spending Money - $1700 each

    These costs are estimates and we are looking for advise on whether you think this is doable.

    Our plan is to stop in Truck Stops and sleep in the car 3 or 4 nights a week, is this advisable?
    Last edited by J&C09; 03-11-2009 at 07:28 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Spending money.

    Hello and welcome to R.T.A.

    With 5 weeks at your disposal you certainly have plenty enough time to complete your trip. Your flight and car rental are easy to get an estimated cost by checking out whats available on line. Your fuel is pretty generous, even if you covered 6500 miles and returned 20mpg at $3 per gallon it still comes in under a $1000 so I would say that's a safe [ish] estimate.
    Although your $1700 each spending money doesn't look to healthy and comes in under $45 a day over 38 days. I would be looking to having at least $65 a day each which equates to around $2500 and could still get tight towards the end of your trip.

    Our plan is to stop in Truck Stops and sleep in the car 3 or 4 nights a week, is this advisable?
    Truck stops are perfectly good to catch a nap but trying to get a good nights sleep for half the week in one wouldn't be my first choice, as a matter of fact I wouldn't attempt to, especially if you have just spent the day in the car. It's OK every now and again but not to regular for the sake of the enjoyment of your trip. I think you would be better off alternating between budget Motels and Hostels or buying yourselves some cheap camping gear at the beginning of your trip and donating it to a charity at the end of it. It would certainly be a cheap alternative although you will have campground fees to pay.

    Have you no interest in some of the Natural wonders along the way? I notice that from Austin to Salt lake city you manage to loop your way around some of the best National parks and scenery you will find anywhere, including the Grand Canyon.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    .....It's OK every now and again but not to regular for the sake of the enjoyment of your trip. I think you would be better off alternating between budget Motels and Hostels or buying yourselves some cheap camping gear at the beginning of your trip and donating it to a charity at the end of it. It would certainly be a cheap alternative although you will have campground fees to pay.
    I would have to agree with Dave, sleeping in the car is an emergency thing, and not advisable on a regular basis. Check out hostels, they are (almost) everywhere.

    Since there are two of you, some of the cheaper motels along the highways could be an affordable alternative. At most truck stops, rest areas and welcome centres - and sometimes even in roadside cafes - you will find discount coupon books which list many of the cheaper hotel/motels in the area. These are very much a take it as they come proposal, but definitely preferable to sleeping in the car.

    Buying cheap camping equipment is another great way to travel. It is amazing what you can find on Craig's list. There are also many discount stores and charity shops could have just what you are looking for. At the end of my first trip, I sold it all .... on Craig's list. Start looking for things in the areas where you will be starting from, a week or so before your departure.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Thanks for the help so far.

    With regard to missing out the natural wonders, that route is just a basis for our plans and we will no doubt venture off it at several points. For the Grand Canyon we are planning on visiting there while staying in Las Vegas.

    We will have to rethink the truck stop idea then, perhaps investing in some camping gear when we arrive.

    Another query we had was whether this trip would be possible in 4weeks rather than 5? This would make our budget much more managable, reducing car hire and motel costs while increasing how much we have to spend each day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    10

    Default

    We have been trying to look into staying in college dorms on our trip which would hopefully save money and also let us meet people of our age.

    Cant seem to find many places that offer this service to non students though, can anyone advise on a site that provides information on colleges that might offer this, or if anyone has stayed at colleges along our route that would be recommended?

    Thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by J&C09 View Post
    ........ or if anyone has stayed at colleges along our route that would be recommended?

    Thanks
    Been There, Done That! Though not on your route, I don't think.

    On three occasions in 2001, in Pembroke NC, somewhere in NE (I think) and I cannot recall where the third was. Each time I was the only occupant in (what inevitably is) a large building.

    Creepy! Double checked all doors to make sure they were locked.

    Upside was, it was cheap and clean.

    Lifey who travels on a shoestring

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    10

    Default NY - LA in 6 weeks.

    Hi everyone,

    I have posted about our trip before while we were in our early planning stage, with our trip only 3 weeks away now we have finalised our itinerary as much as we feel is required. Any advice on our plans would be appreciated. Some of the places we have decided to stop are just chosen as they are along the route so any alternative suggestions are welcome. This route and time scale is also not set in stone, we are planning on altering it as we go.

    There will be 3 of us making this trip and we have hired a Chevrolet Grand Venture (or similar) so we will have more than enough space. Our itinerary at present has one day spare which will allow us to spend a night somewhere we particularly enjoy.

    Arrive JFK 24th July
    Days 1-4 - New York City
    Day 5 - Pick up hire car at Newark Airport - Drive to Philadelphia
    Day 6 - Drive to Washington DC via Baltimore
    Day 7 - Washington DC
    Day 8 - Drive to Virginia Beach via Richmond
    Day 9 - Virginia Beach
    Day 10 - Virginia Beach to Greensboro
    Day 11 - Greensboro to Knoxville
    Day 12 - Knoxville to Nashville via Glasgow
    Day 13 - Nashville to Memphis
    Day 14 - Memphis to New Orleans (via somewhere in Arkansas to increase our "state count")
    Day 15 - New Orleans
    Day 16 - New Orleans
    Day 17 - New Orleans to Houston
    Day 18 - Houston - Galveston (Apparently The party town of Texas?)
    Day 19 - Galveston - Austin
    Day 21 - Austin to Dallas
    Day 22 - Dallas to Wichita via Oklahoma City
    Day 23 - Wichita to Denver (or Colorado Springs)
    Days 24 and 25 - Denver to Salt Lake City (Taking a detour into Idaho, again to increase our "state count", stopping overnight en-route)
    Day 26 - Salt Lake City to Flagstaff
    Day 27 - Flagstaff to Las Vegas
    Days 28-30 - Las Vegas
    Day 31 - Las Vegas to Fresno
    Day 32 - Fresno - San Francisco
    Day 33 - San Francisco
    Day 34 - San Francisco - Santa Barbara
    Day 35 - Santa Barbara - San Diego
    Day 36 - San Diego
    Day 37 - San Diego - LA
    Day 38 - *SPARE DAY*
    Day 39 - LA - Drop off hire car at LAX
    Day 40 - LA
    Day 41 - LA
    Day 42 - LA
    Day 43 - Depart from LAX 31st August

    Heading down to San Diego was an after thought when we realised we may have extra time. If time is getting tight we may give it a miss completely.

    Along the way there are a few things we are unsure about. For example we're not sure whether it would be best to visit the Grand Canyon from Flagstaff or from Las Vegas? I have seen that there are day trips from Vegas to the Skywalk which we think would be good.

    When it comes to motels, where the price is, for example, $50, is that per person or for a twin/double room? We are also considering getting airbed so the 3rd person could sleep on the floor, saving money. How easy is it to sneak an extra person into a motel room?

    I look forward to reading your comments and no doubt will have more questions in the next 3 weeks before we leave.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-28-2009 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Merged with previous posts about the same trip.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Visit the GC on your way from Salt Lake City to Flagstaff. That will work well for either the North or South Rim. I wouldn't bother with the skywalk, that's owned by the Indians and it's not part of the park. Admission is expensive and the road to get there is terrible, not suitable for a rental car.

    Hotel prices are quoted per room, maximum legal occupancy is 4 per room. Prices for 1, 2, 3, or 4 people are generally quoted on websites and most hotels will offer rollaway beds on request.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Spare day.

    I haven't had time to look at your whole itinerary but with your spare day I would use it between Vegas and San Fran and not go the way of Fresno. Head across Death valley on 160 to 190 via Ash Meadows road and head North on the 395 to Lee vining and then into Yosemite on the 120 [Tioga pass] which is one of my favorite parks, it's stunning. Personally I would leave Vegas sometime on day 30 and get a head start and more time in Yosemite.
    I would visit GC after Flagstaff as there is no way will you have time to drive from SLC to Flagstaff and have any quality time at the canyon. Actually, you could stop closer to the East entrance of GC South rim at Cameron trading post which would save you some miles but most likely add to your lodging cost.
    It is for you to decide but one other thing I would consider is taking another day between SLC and Flagstaff [maybe from LA?] and stopping on the way down. Springdale and the beautiful Zion NP would be my choice.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Thanks for finding my original post - as you can see our plans have changed quite a bit.

    Taking an extra day between SLC and Flagstaff seems a good idea, we will have a look at our plan and perhaps cut a day from elsewhere for this. Our hire car has to be returned on day 39 so taking the day from LA is not an option.

    Between Flagstaff and Las Vegas, we are thinking of visiting the Arizona Meteor Crater and the Grand Canyon Caverns. I have read mixed reviews on these attractions however, do you think they are worth visiting?

    Between Las Vegas and San Francisco the suggested route through Death Valley and Yosemite seems a good one, using up our extra day. We also considered heading up to Lake Tahoe after Yosemite, though this may be a bit far out the way?

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